Presenter Crystal Roberts and a team from the hit TV programme Pasella spent most of the past week in Mossel Bay, where they filmed a show about the Hunter Gatherer Trail – a guided coastal hike from Dana Bay to the Gourits River Mouth.
The team was guided by Andre Swanepoel and Willy Komani, permanent guides on both the Hunter Gatherer Trail and its sister, the luxury Oystercatcher Trail.
“The Hunter Gatherer Trail aims to educate hikers in the ways of the ancients who left a great legacy along this coast,” said Fred Orban, who developed both of the Trails.
He said that the area is rich in stone artefacts like blades, digging tools, and ochres – which were used for symbolling and decoration – as well as numerous shell middens, “Which are basically rubbish dumps, although, of course, they contain only organic material.
“These middens were deposited over many thousands of years and provide modern day scientists with a treasure trove of information about how our forefathers ate and lived.”
The most important of the middens of the Mossel Bay area are found in the Pinnacle Point Caves – which, said Mr. Orban, are out of bounds to the public because they’re the subject of intense scientific study.
“Members of the Mossel Bay Archaeology project have shown that this was where modern human behaviour emerged about 165,000 years ago,” he said.
“Nevertheless, there are many other middens in the dunes along the way, and we were able to show these to Crystal and her team – and we were fortunate enough that archaeologist Cindy Nelson, who works for the leader of the Mossel Bay Archaeology Project, Professor Curtis Marean, was able to come along and interpret them for our guests.”
One of the highlights of the Trail is a visit to the stone fish traps at Cape Vacca – built in the intertidal shallows, they were an important source of food and proteins for the ancients.
“The Pasella team spent a lot of time filing the fish traps, and I think viewers are going to be fascinated by what they discovered, said Mr. Orban.
He said that he and Mr. Komani also showed the crew a set of elephant bones which were found in the Boggomsbaai area some years ago.
“They mysteriously disappeared from their original resting place shortly after they were found, and then they were returned anonymously about a year later,” he said.
“They’re now with Cindy and Curtis in safe keeping.
“What’s most interesting about them, though, is that they’re believed to be about five or six hundred years old – which proves that elephants were present in the area when Dias and his men first visited these shores.
“It’s tragic to think of what happened to the herds in the centuries since then.”
Mossel Bay Tourism’s Marcia Holm said that the Pasella insert is expected to provide a strong boost for tourism in the area. “It will also highlight Mossel Bay as a destination of note – especially in the fields of science, archaeology, and the environment – and will once again demonstrate that the cultural and environmental heritage of Mossel Bay is almost without equal,” she said,
The producers of Pasella have indicated that the insert is scheduled for screening on the 15th February next year.